First, thank you to everyone for their comments, prayers and support from my last post. They help more than I could ever say! I know I am not alone in any of this.
So, picking up from where I last left off, we were discerning whether or not to do the surgery to remove what is *hopefully* the last remaining spot of cancer in my neck.
I talked with my doctor a few days after my appointment because my tumor markers (blood work) had come back and it showed there is still cancer activity, but that it was still stable and the same number as the previous few years. She had spoken to my surgeon and he felt comfortable with removing the tumor in my lymph node area (side of my neck) and ignoring the spot they see in my thyroid bed area (the one that is much more complicated to surgically remove and not possible to be biopsied).
We had a few days to process all this by now and Neel and I were leaning more towards doing the surgery. My doctor said that the surgeon would like a biopsy of the lymph node area tumor, since we had never biopsied that one before. This would clarify what exactly it is and would need to be done before surgery.
So we decided let’s get the biopsy out of the way – even though we still weren’t totally sure about surgery and when to do that.
We went to UNMC April 26th for the biopsy. We were able to have my endocrinologist do the biopsy (and her fellow) and they both, along with the nurses, did an incredible job. I had had two biopsies previously that went AWFUL – and I always said I would prefer surgery then go through a biopsy again. But this time was different – maybe because I was with the doctor who I have been with for over 6 years now, and definitely because these sweet nurses held my hands the entire time.
I left pretty soar, but also relieved to finally be doing something to hopefully be getting well. She said it would be a couple days for results.
Two days later I see my doctor is calling. I know what she is going to say – I am not even nervous. She says it’s cancer – papillary thyroid carcinoma. I am relieved.
Relieved…did that throw you? It threw my family, too. But I am relieved. For the first time in this journey, the results were what they EXPECTED. Of course a clean pathology report is great, but when your blood work is saying there’s cancer in the body, you want to know where it is, and this area in my neck looked like the likely place. To have the biopsy confirm that is where the cancer is was a relief (because if the biopsy had come back clean – then where is the cancer??).
So it was my third phone call of a doctor telling me I have cancer – but it was met with MUCH different emotions than the last two phone calls that brought the same news.
My doctor reaffirms that everything is still stable and there is no need to rush and do a surgery. We are tentatively thinking of waiting until September, but will most likely do the surgery then with hopes that I can be cancer free.
Please pray that we are making the right decision, and that this will indeed lead us to being done with thyroid cancer. Also please say a prayer for our kids – who are now old enough to comprehend a lot more than when we went through the first three surgeries.
It has been a long and winding road these past six and half years, but it has been a beautiful journey with experiences that have made us appreciate life in a much more fulfilling way. That being said – I am ready to get off the cancer road for good, and not return anytime soon.
PS: Why wait until September? I have been asked that, and it’s simply because I do not want to deal with a fresh scar on my neck during the sunny summer. We are outside and at the pool and lake so much, I want to still be able to enjoy all that, and then have plenty of time to heal before summer comes again. I feel blessed to have time on our side. 🙂